Rubber keypads are often preferred over plastic keypads due to their versatility and durability. While they offer the same level of functionality as their plastic counterpart, there are several reasons why consumers choose them. For starters, rubber is soft and retains a certain amount of tactile feedback, which in turn yields improved typing accuracy.
Rubber keypads are also naturally resistant to moisture, dirt and debris, making them an excellent choice for outdoor applications. The rubber material acts as a barrier of protecting, protecting the underlying electrical components from damage. Rubber doesn’t rot, warp or otherwise damage when exposed to the outdoor elements; thus, it’s the perfect choice for outdoor use. But if you’re thinking of investing in a new rubber keypad, there are a few things you should know about its design.
Did you know that a second layer is often unnecessary with rubber keypads, assuming graphics are used? If the graphics are placed on the top layer, it eliminates the need for an underlying second layer. And conventional wisdom should tell you that fewer layers translates into a lower profile. If you’re searching for a low-profile keypad, consider using a rubber keypad with the graphics printed on the top layer. This has become a popular design technique, as it allows for a low-profile switch while still maintaining all of the positive benefits and attractive qualities of a traditional rubber keypad.
Something else to consider when designing a rubber keypad is whether or not to include a protective film. What’s the purpose of a protective film? Simply put, it protects the keypad from common forms of damage. When used outdoors, rubber keypads are exposed to the elements. The good news is that rubber is naturally resistant to moisture and debris. The bad news is that prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause the keypad to fade, in which case the graphics may no longer be visible. You can prevent this from happening, however, by designing your rubber keypad with a UV-protectant film. This film blocks out the sun’s ultraviolet rays, protecting the keypad’s graphics from sun-induced fading and damaging.
You may also want to consider a faceplate when designing a rubber keypad. Faceplates allow keypads to work in virtually any environment.